Lead Story

A Reuters story in January on the Japanese physical comedy team Tokyo Shock Boys listed several injuries suffered by team members: scarring of groins and buttocks from dropping firecrackers down their pants, patches of tender skin from gluing various objects to their faces, and one member’s missing teeth caused by bites from the scorpions he puts in his mouth. The story also reported that one member, Danna Koyanagi, takes milk into his mouth and squirts it out his eyes. The group’s slogan is “Please laugh. We’re risking our lives.”


Recent highway spills: 324,000 eggs from a truck near New Hampton, Iowa, in December; 22,000 kilograms of vegetable oil on Highway 401 in Toronto in November; thousands of gallons of molasses near Springfield, Missouri, in January; about $1,000 in trade association dues in Portland, Oregon, in December that spilled from a cash box the group’s treasurer had left on top of his car.

Surgical errors: at a hospital in Tampa, Florida, doctors amputated the wrong leg of one patient and operated on the wrong knee of another in February; in Iowa City in 1991 doctors operated on the wrong ear of a patient suffering from vertigo; in Grand Rapids, Michigan, doctors removed the wrong breast of a woman during a mastectomy in February.

A pilot and his passenger were arrested in December when the pilot, flying a small plane running methamphetamines, got confused and missed his intended nighttime landing spot, the small airstrip in Turlock, California. Instead, he landed at nearby Castle Air Force Base.

Halfdan Prahl, 35, was arrested in Westport, Connecticut, in February when he brought a chain saw into a restaurant and carved his initials into the floor of the bar. Afterward, Prahl said he knew the owner and was certain the owner would find his stunt amusing; according to the police, Prahl was unaware that his friend had recently sold the restaurant.

In October in Davenport, Iowa, middle school Spanish teacher Patricia Lewis was smacked in the head with a baseball bat by a blindfolded student trying to break open a pinata.

Fire chief Edward Murphy told reporters in Newton, Massachusetts, in November that firefighters and police officers spent 15 minutes freeing a woman whose long fingernail was wedged into the coin slot of a parking meter.


New York City police officer Angelo Angelico Jr., 27, was shot by a colleague in October after failing to heed officers’ warnings to stop driving his car up a walkway. Officers said Angelico emerged from his car holding his .357 Magnum. Before being shot Angelico said that he didn’t need to stop because “my gun’s bigger than yours.”

In August nurse Bobbie Heaney filed a lawsuit against Dr. William McIntosh after an incident in a hospital delivery room in Odessa, Texas. Heaney accused McIntosh of deliberately squirting her in the face with blood from an umbilical cord during an argument.

Recent incidents of teachers biting for disciplinary purposes: in November a private-school teacher in Longueuil, Quebec, was charged with biting a four-year-old boy on the arm; last summer high-school coach Ed Donahoo resigned after biting a 15-year-old boy on the nose during a physical education class in Montgomery, Alabama.

Child Prodigies

In January in Lafayette, Indiana, Ben Orndorff, 7, helped his 21-year-old cousin deliver her baby because everyone else in the family happened to be out shopping when the woman went into labor.

In October Michael Jones, eight, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, arrived at Dr. Robert Zaworski’s office for outpatient surgery on a facial mole clutching his handwritten last will and testament. Had the surgery killed him, his mom would have gotten his bed, his dad his picture and toys, and his teddy bear would have been buried with him.

Among recent child criminal phenoms: a ten-year-old boy who was turned in by his nine-year-old brother after allegedly robbing a convenience store in Grand Junction, Colorado, last summer; an 11-year-old boy, arrested in Sandersville, Georgia, in January for robbing a bank with a .38-caliber pistol and making his getaway on a bicycle.

Least Competent Criminal

In March Gerald Lydell Voyles, 39, a suspect in an unsolved 1981 double murder, was arrested after walking into the Polk County jail in Bartow, Florida, giving his real name, and asking about the long-standing $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Gerald Lydell Voyles. Said Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow Jr., “We believe he was serious about the reward. He will not be eligible.”

Unclear on the Concept

A University of Pennsylvania student group, White Women Against Racism, recently excluded a black woman who wanted to join. Group spokesperson Elena DiLapi said whites have to meet among themselves in order to understand why whites so often exclude blacks. “Racism is a white problem, and we have a responsibility as white women in particular to do what we can to eradicate racism.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Illustration/Shawn Belschwender.